Eleanor Melville

Obituary of Eleanor Melville

Eleanor R. Melville, 89, of Owego passed away peacefully in her home on Wednesday, December 13, 2017.  Eleanor was born in Niagara Falls, New York on March 17, 1928.  She graduated from LaSalle High School in 1944 and Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio in 1950.  She married Robert Melville in 1948 and had four children in five years.  The family moved to Owego, New York in 1963.  In 1966 the family moved to Santiago, Chile where they lived for two years, and then returned to Owego in 1968.  Eleanor loved to volunteer her time. She was a Cub Scout leader, a Girl Scout leader and Girl Guide leader in Chile.  She was an active member of the Owego United Methodist Church, where she volunteered her time in almost every aspect of church life.  She organized Red Cross Blood Drives, cooking chili and making her famous cheese ball.  Eleanor was very active in the Tioga County Democratic Party, serving as Chair for many years, and organizing the local campaign for Congressman Matt McHugh.  She served on the Board of Tioga Opportunities, and was the Finance Chair during the construction of the Countryside Community Center.  Her proudest achievement was being a Co-founder of the Owego Meals on Wheels program in 1971.  She was a driver and the Coordinator of drivers well into her 80’s.  Eleanor was a loving and generous person who always had room in her heart and her home for those in need.  She often took in teenagers, adults and even foreign refugees who had no place else to go.  The Melville house was where neighborhood kids congregated to play ghost in the grave yard, cards, croquet and volleyball. She was an avid knitter and loved giving sweaters, scarves and knitted toys to everyone she met.  She took up weaving later in life, and had a full size loom in her beloved River Row apartment. She was always trying her hand at various crafts, including beading, painting and paper cutting.  She loved to read, attend the opera with her girl friends and play the piano. Eleanor worked for years at the Coburn Free Library, where she was well known for her sunny disposition and helpful manner. In her 70’s and 80’s she was a fixture in downtown Owego, walking the River Walk and stopping in stores to chat with friends and tell stories.  Eleanor’s family and friends will miss her loving and caring manner.  She never had an unkind word to say about anyone, no matter the circumstances.  The world would be a better place if we had more people in it like her. Eleanor was predeceased by her parents Elmer and Nancy Rideout, her brother H. Earle Rideout, her  grandson Daniel Melville, and the father of her children Robert F. Melville.  She is survived by her four children Kenneth Melville and his wife Beth, Thomas Melville, Amy Melville and her husband John Schroll, and Judith Quigley and her husband Peter; seven grandchildren Catherine Melville, Samuel Melville and his wife Kate, Henry Melville, James Schroll and his wife Melissa Wright, Carolyn Schroll and her husband Alex Penney, Kate Quigley and Jared Quigley; two brothers, E. William Rideout, Jr. and Kenneth W. Rideout; and many nieces and nephews.   The family will receive friends Saturday, January 6, 2018 from 10:00 to 10:45 a.m. with a Celebration of Eleanor’s Life to follow at 11:00 a.m. at the Owego United Methodist Church, 261 Main St., Owego.  Memorial contributions may be made in Eleanor R. Melville’s memory to a charity of one’s choice.